Artifact Gallery -- Wall Painting
Much like we paint and plaster our own houses today, Ancestral Puebloans used layers of colorful plaster to decorate their walls, inside and out. Designs were often painted on with a fibrous brush or with fingers using paint made from a combination of colored pigments and dilutants/binders such as water, oils, and occasionally, urine. Keep in mind that water was scarce in this arid climate.
This painting, found inside a room at Cliff Palace, includes triangles possibly representing mountains, and geometrical designs common to Ancestral Puebloan art. Here is a challenge – do some research and form your own theories about what these designs might represent. Remember, no one knows for sure.
Did You Know?
On a snowy December day in 1888, while ranchers Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason searched Mesa Verde’s canyons for stray cattle, they unexpectedly came upon Cliff Palace for the first time. The following year, the Wetherill brothers and Mason explored an additional 182 cliff dwellings.